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Potter County Connection › A Newsletter for Potter County Employees
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Call 274-1700 To Check On Closings/Delays

snowWith winter weather upon us, employees are reminded that the county has in place a policy to deal with potentially hazardous driving conditions on work days. A telephone number, (814) 274-1700, is available for employees to call and receive updated information on possible work delays or cancellations. Department heads and managers are asked to make all employees aware of this service, which is provided by the Safety Committee and the Department of Emergency Services (DES). Employees are encouraged to make a note of the number for easy access.

Employees are also reminded that they have been granted two Inclement Weather Days that can be used in the event of localized travel concerns or related factors. Anyone with questions about the Inclement Weather Days should contact Chief Clerk Kathy Majot at 274-8290, extension 206.

Beware Of Copy Machine Supply Crooks!

emailedfraudSeveral county employees have received unsolicited emails from marketers purporting to sell copy machine supplies and related products at discounted rates. A check with local suppliers revealed that this common scheme often involves product offers that are literally too good to be true. Fraudulent bills are sent without any products being provided; or, the marketer will send products — often of inferior quality — and then bill for orders that were never placed. Any employee who is approached for copy/fax machine products or services should contact the Commissioners Office at 274-8290, extension 204.

County Employee Discount Offered By Verizon

verizonwirelessPotter County employees are eligible for an 18-percent discount on many of the products and services offered by Verizon, America’s largest 4G LTE wireless communications network. Verizon recently announced plans to expand its coverage area in much of Potter County, which could make the offer even more attractive. Details of the employee discount plan are available online at verizonwireless.com/discount, or by contacting Karen Potter at 607-227-4072 or karen.potter@verizonwireless.com.

County Retirement Plan Explained

pension2As a “defined benefit plan,” the county’s retirement policy removes the risk from employees and places it on the county. Several years ago, the Retirement Board retained C. S. McKee, an investment advisor from Pittsburgh, to manage the employees’ retirement fund, which has assets in excess of $10 million. The county’s annual contribution to each employee’s retirement account, at 5.5 percent, is the maximum permitted and represents a substantial benefit for employees. Under the policy, an employee is 100 percent “vested” (i.e., eligible to collect the county’s contribution to the plan) after five years of service.

Employees who are planning to retire or otherwise leave county employment should schedule a meeting with Kathleen Majot at 274-8290, Ext. 206. During the meeting, she will be able to explain retirement plan options and present benefit estimates. Members of the Potter County Retirement Board are Paul Heimel, Susan Kefover, Kathleen Majot, Krista Miller and Doug Morley.

County Launches GIS/Mapping Department

emborsky1The Potter County Commissioners announce that a GIS/Mapping Department has been established and is located in the Gunzburger Building, within the Planning Office. Rudin Emborsky (left), who has served as a GIS/Mapping employee with the Potter County Department of Emergency Services, has been appointed as the GIS/Mapping Director. GIS/Mapping Coordinator Jake Ostrom is also involved in the new department, as well as continuing to serve as Chief Assessor. They are coordinating GIS functions with several county department heads, including Information Technology Director Bill Solomon.

GIS (Geographic Information Service) has become a critical part of government operations in recent years. The new technology, combined with longitude/latitude data and other traditional records, improves accuracy and efficiencies in emergency services, planning, tax assessment, deed recording, public works, as well as coordination with private-sector entities and state/federal government initiatives. Many county and local governments across Pennsylvania have established GIS divisions.

Open House Held At New Senior Center

dec14srcenteropenhouseentrance

img_3500img_35141An open house was held at the new Coudersport Senior Center in the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department Training Center, across from the firehall on Rt. 6 West (Port Allegany Road). Senior Center director Sue Smith (right) and representatives from the Potter County Area Agency on Aging greeted those attending, including children from the adjacent Head Start center who stopped by to greet their new neighbors. Among those attending was nonagenarian Tillie Masolotte (left), who served for many years as an employee of the Potter County Court. Directors believe the new location will boost participation, with easier access, more room for activities and additional parking. They expressed their appreciation to vendor Pittsburgh Companies North for donating the refreshments for Thursday’s open house. Senior center hours are 8 am to 2 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For more information, contact the Potter County Area Agency on Aging at 814-544-7315.

Gifts, Donations Sent To Scarolas

scarolacolleenandstellaTwo boxes of toys and other gifts as well as a substantial cash donation were recently sent to Burlington, Vermont, for Colleen Bray Scarola and her children. They represented donations from Potter County employees collected over the past few weeks to support the family at Christmas time. Colleen, the daughter of David and Betty (Haskins) Bray of Coudersport, was recently released from a trauma center and continues her recovery from injuries sustained in a domestic violence incident at her Burlington home. She and her two children, 7-year-old Stella and 5-year-old Ronan, face considerable financial challenges. Her mailing address is: 30 Blodgett St., Unit 1, Burlington VT 05401.

Important Advisory On Computer Issues!

computer-useWith a new year dawning soon, the Potter County Commissioners are evaluating each department’s information technology needs. Bill Solomon (Director/Technological Services) is conducting a department-by-department inventory to review each employee’s operating system and software issues. If you need to contact Bill directly, he can be reached at 274-8290, Ext. 601. Part of the inventory/audit process involves installation of backup systems that protect against valuable data loss. Bill has also provided the following important information for employees:

  • Please delete any unnecessary emails and other documents or files that are obsolete and/or outdated.
  • Very important! Employees should not open any attachments unless the user is certain of the validity of both the sender and the attachment. Any “.zip” file and “.exe” file should not be opened unless it is scanned. Considerable damage can be done by opening these files.
  • All systems should be running a minimum of XP Professional (not XP Home) and Office 2007 and above. If you are having trouble accessing state sites, please let Bill know, as Internet Explorer versions 10 and above are not compatible.
  • Norton 360 is now the preferred anti-virus software. If your system does not have it installed, please let Bill know so he can prioritize the system.
  • The county’s Technological Resources Acceptable Use Policy restricts the use of county-owned equipment (computers/software/internet access) to county business only. At the time of this policy’s adoption, employees were provided with a copy of the county’s policy and were asked to sign an acknowledgment/consent form. This form verifies that the employee is aware of the policy and agrees to comply. Copies of the county’s policy and the acknowledgment form are available from Dawn Swatsworth at 274-8290/Extension 207. Please take the time to review the policy and, if you have not yet signed the acknowledgment form, please do so and deliver the form to your department head or supervisor.

Commissioners Approve Revised 2014 Holiday Schedule

new-year-2014-photos1The Potter County Commissioners have released the 2014 county holiday schedule for the convenience of employees and the public. The 2014 schedule follows the same parameters as the 2013 listing. Two of the dates announced in a previous schedule have been changed (Veterans Day and Christmas),

Specifics are as follow: Jan. 1, New Year’s Day; Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Day; Feb. 17, Presidents Day; April 18, Good Friday; May 26, Memorial Day; July 4, Independence Day; Sept. 1, Labor Day; Nov. 11, Veterans Day; Nov. 27-28, Thanksgiving; Christmas, Dec. 25-26.

More Improvements Made To County Website

websitegraphicMore improvements have been made to the county website, aimed at making services more convenient for the public while improving efficiencies with the county government. Most recently, minutes from business meetings of the Potter County Board of Commissioners can be found on the site, available at pottercountypa.net (under Departments tab, click on Commissioners). The site also now contains quick links to current and all past editions of two local newsletters, Shale Gas Roundup and Pottter County Veterans News.

Links to information on benefits and other services for military veterans have also recently been added (click on Veterans Affairs). Eligible organizations can now download applications for Small Games of Chance licenses from the site (click on Treasurer’s Office). The site features conveniences for the public to purchase dog licenses, apply for homestead tax exemptions, obtain phone numbers and email addresses for county and municipal officials, tap into the Landex system for remote access to deeds and land records, obtain voter information, and more. There’s also current and archived information on the county government and Potter County in general, as well as some interactive features.

Internet users are encouraged to bookmark the site on their home computers. The new site complements a separate web-based service for information from or about the county government, Potter County Today. Together, the two information services deliver both timely information, updated on a daily basis, as well as connections to many other sources.